Skip to main content

Product Review: Nextcast's Winter Authority

Product Review: Nextcast's Winter Authority
Winter Wonderland

The world of winter steelheading has gone crazy for Skagit heads, and for good reason: these shorter heads can chuck some heavy junk to distant and deep lies, not to mention these heads load in tight conditions and fly well despite stiff winds.

But Skagit head's compactness can be their downfall, especially on big uniform water. If you're sending 80 to 100 foot casts all day with a 25 foot head, you're stripping 55 to 75 feet of line back to you between each cast. Over the course of the day, that's maybe an hour or more of fishing time spent stripping line--not swinging flies. Plus, the more running line in the water, the more likely you are to snag a guide or a stick or your boot during the cast.

Enter Nextcast's Winter Authority.

Nextcast Lines are the brainchild of tournament caster Simon Hsieh, who has twice won the Spey O Rama casting competition. His lines consistently place in the top five at major casting competitions, and if you check the reels of Northwest steelhead guides, you'll find his creations.


The Winter Authority comes in two sizes, the 45' head built for 12' tips and the 55' head built for 15' tips. These heads loop into your running line and will throw small to medium-sized flies and light to moderate tips a mile.


These aren't Skagit heads, and they aren't built to be cast with sustained anchor techniques, though they can be made to cast in this manner. They excel in touch-and-go scenarios, which makes them much faster to reposition for a new swing than Skagit heads. Strip to the head, use a single spey, and you're fishing again.

Unlike Skagit heads, which have a substantial amount of their mass at the rear end and hence need to be stripped right to the connection with the running line, the Winter Authority has its mass spread over more of its length. As a result, the line tends to cast best when stripped to within 2-3 feet of the head; that overhand helps load the rod. With your Winter Authority, experiment with the overhang until you've found a distance that consistently produces tight loops with your casting style.

The Winter Authority isn't a go-everywhere do-everything head--I've found it to struggle when casting heavy tips like T-14 or when throwing heavy flies like rabbit leeches--but if you're looking to fish big water this winter with 2-4 inch flies and T-8 or T-11, and you want to spend more time swinging and less time stripping, give the Winter Authority a try. You'll be pleased.

The Winter Authority 45 and 55 are available as heads only, and retail for $89.


Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity

Rio Technical Trout

Rio Technical Trout

Rio Technical Trout

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

Tying the Double Barrel Popper

Tying the Double Barrel Popper

All these tricks can be put to use on poppers or sliders for anything with fins, from panfish to billfish.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

How to deliver meat & potatoes to hungry troutTools for Streamer Fishing Beginners

Tools for Streamer Fishing

George Daniel - February 10, 2020

How to deliver meat & potatoes to hungry trout

You can be a successful freshwater fly fisher with just the nine knots shown here.9 Best Fly Fishing Knots You Should Know Beginners

9 Best Fly Fishing Knots You Should Know

Fly Fisherman Staff | Illustrations by Joe Mahler

You can be a successful freshwater fly fisher with just the nine knots shown here.

This line control is one of the unique aspects of fly fishing.How to Mend, Set the Hook, and Strip Line Beginners

How to Mend, Set the Hook, and Strip Line

Landon Mayer | Illustrations by Joe Mahler - August 11, 2020

This line control is one of the unique aspects of fly fishing.

As you explore your home water, keep in mind what they are eating to select the best carp flies!The 15 Best Carp Flies Flies

The 15 Best Carp Flies

Jay Zimmerman

As you explore your home water, keep in mind what they are eating to select the best carp...

See More Trending Articles

More Lines

The go-to line for all saltwater species.Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity Salt Lines

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity Salt

Ross Purnell - January 16, 2020

The go-to line for all saltwater species.

Lab-tested for superior results — the new SlickCast fly line is most durable coating on the market.RIO Slickcast Fly Lines Lines

RIO Slickcast Fly Lines

Fly Fisherman Staff - July 28, 2020

Lab-tested for superior results — the new SlickCast fly line is most durable coating on the...

Made with proprietary copolymer blends that are designed to drastically reduce water absorption.Scientific Anglers Absolute Leaders Lines

Scientific Anglers Absolute Leaders

Fly Fisherman - February 06, 2020

Made with proprietary copolymer blends that are designed to drastically reduce water...

Here's a look at 8 new fly lines for 2019.8 New Fly Lines for 2019 Lines

8 New Fly Lines for 2019

Fly-Fisherman

Here's a look at 8 new fly lines for 2019.

See More Lines

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Fly Fisherman App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Fly Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now